Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Monday, July 14, 2003  

I'll begin posting on something other than the length of Pinocchio Bush's nose here any time, but I have to note an update on the way the story has metastacized over the past 48 hours. A couple of weeks ago, I plugged in combinations of words on Google News. The results were already pretty high:

"Bush" and "lies" 1,800

"Bush" and "lying" 1,260

"Bush" and "misstatements" 46

Two days ago, I ran the numbers again. They looked like this (respectively): 1920, 1220, and 89. Today, the numbers have spiked again. The President's name, with the words "lies" 2010, "lying" 1260, and "misstatement" 100.

But, if you run Bush and "truth" the number really jumps: 3350.

I'm not interested in this as an index of the statements' veracity. But for someone who watched one President (whom I didn't particularly like) be eviscerated by the press while the next got a remarkable 2-year honeymoon, I can't think of anyone more richly deserving of a little heat. And true to their authoritarian mode, the Bushies are handling it badly: pouring gasoline on the fire with their imperious pique. In the end, that may be the thing that does them in--the lack of grace with which they handle the heat of leadership. It appears the press can still smell blood in the water, and they're feasting on it.

[Clarification: On the word "truth" vs. "lie." I think you can attribute all of them--or nearly all--to the question of whether Bush lied. In fact, my intent was to find out how many articles were discussing this; whether the question is "truth" or "lie" is a matter of how charitable the author feels. The problem for the President is that everyone's talking about it.

It would be interesting for some bright grad student to test this hypothesis and determine whether: 1) the combinations of Bush/lying and Bush/truth actually correspond pretty closely to the question of whether Bush is telling the truth (as opposed to articles containing both words but not relating to the question at hand), 2) whether Bush and lying are in fact generally negative and 3) if Bush and truth are generally positive. If the answer to all three are yes, then you could track the degree of positive vs. negative press relating to the President and the issue of his lies.]

posted by Jeff | 2:54 PM |
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